“Y’all are thriving!”
A dear friend said as I slid into the breakfast table.
“I mean…” I said as I asked the waitress to bring the biggest cup of coffee she could find.
“You are thriving..right?” His excitement turned quickly to curiosity with a hint of concern.
“I mean, sure, in certain ways we definitely are. But in others, it’s been really hard…”
Last week, our team spent 2.5 incredible, productive, life-giving, vision-casting, amazing days together at our Annual Retreat (the 3rd iteration, which went from three people in year one, to eight in year two, and 14 in year three).
10 of the 14 of our full-time team have been here less than 12 months.
Thriving, you bet, in so many cool and hopeful ways. But the other side of that same coin is Terrifying.
I’ll share more as the weeks go, but I had the opportunity to address our team to begin our time together. For two hours (surprisingly no one fell asleep), I walked them through where we’ve been, where we are, and then painted a few pictures of where we’re headed (at least as best as I presently can see the headlights in front of our car as we drive in the night together – thanks Anne Lamott).
In order to get where we want to go, serve our clients in the ways we want to serve them, and make a pretty big marketing ruckus, we made 10 commitments to each other:
- Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’ll do it. – Seems to be the quickest path to trust.
- Focus. Remove distractions and do earth-moving work. – We’re in digital marketing. The land of the notifications and distractions. But the meaningful work happens in silence most often.
- Have agency & take initiative. you don’t need permission here. – Be courageous, go and change the world.
- Have an appetite to learn & you’ll have the freedom to fail. – Dave Geenens taught me this. And thank God, I’m surrounded by learners who then have the freedom to fail.
- Give a big damn in general, but specifically about story. – It’s wild what happens when people over-index in care.
- Be honest. – Not just “don’t lie”, but tell the truth. There’s a big difference.
- We’re all here to serve. – Our clients, our communities, and each other. As Cory Scheer would call it, Benevolence. Others-focused.
- Build stronger boundaries. – Y’all marketers, advertisers, brand builders, and storytellers, know this well. Burnout is a real thing.
- Love is more powerful than fear. Live and work from it as often as possible. – Command the fear, and then operate from love.
- Don’t take this so seriously. Smile. Have fun. Enjoy this chapter. – “Y’all have a high shame system on yourselves, and have incredibly tough expectations on your work.” – a different dear friend said that to me a few months ago. Ugh. Of course we want to world-class for our clients, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of making each other feel bad in the process. Take a deep breath, relax, smile, and do the work.